Kenneth Mungara, 41, won the Gold Coast marathon this morning in a race record 2hr 8min 42sec, leading home Kenyan trifecta in which all three placegetters broke the 2:09 barrier.
Mungara’s time was a race, Australian allcomers and world masters record, And the performance has elevated the credibility of the race, according to Australian marathon legend Robert de Castella.
It took 32 years for de Castella’s Australian allcomers mark to be broken but just 12 months after Silah Limo claimed it to win last year’s Gold Coast marathon, it has been broken again by all three placegetters.
“It really elevates the credibility of this race,’’ de Castella said.
“Now the fact that the Gold Coast has demonstrated the speed of the course, we’re going to see even bigger fields come out.
“On the international stage, 2:08 is a great time and to have three guys running 2:08, what you’ll find is a lot of runners trying to make international teams, run national qualifiers, will be attracted to coming here in future years and trying to get Olympic qualifiers and world championship qualifiers.’’
Mungara ran his first marathon at the age of 35 after listening in on the conversation of runners discussing their training regimes in his barbershop.
“I could hear them discussing what they do, wheat they run, what they were going to rehearse so I had to keep that in my mind,’’ he said.
“I went (training) alone, I went behind them, so I could hard what they were saying.’’
It paid dividends, with Mungara running a 2:10 marathon debut and breaking the world masters record before lowering his own mark on the Coast after passing countrymen Limo and Evans Ruto in the final 5km.
“When I go to that race, I have to plan. I have to go slow, I have to wait for them to do their work,’’ he said.
“I was relaxing (when they made their break). They had to focus so they help each other.
“(I was thinking) when I feel I’m comfortable, I’ll make a move, if I feel I’m not comfortable, I’ll stay there.’’
Gold Coast marathon chairman Kerry Watson echoed de Castella’s confidence about the race.
“We’re excited about it, not only from the fact that the winner broke the record but what it does is that those levels that we’re running now are starting to attract the elites of the elites,’’ Watson said.
“The fact that we were under 10 (2:10) last year, attracted the field we had this year, by doing what’s happened this year, it will feed on itself.
“We’re delighted, not only with the record, but three under 2:09 like that, people will pick up the paper and go: ‘What’s going on down there’.
“The Gold Coast is seen as the place to run a marathon (in Australia).’’
Jonathan Peters won the Oceania and Queensland marathon titles after crossing in 16th place in 2:26.59.
Peters beat Rowan Walker and Peter Hallgren to the line for the Oceania title.
Source: GOLD COAST BULLETIN